If you have a patient who expresses difficulty sleeping, it may be necessary to recommend a sleep test to determine if they might have a condition that inhibits their ability to achieve adequate rest. As a dentist who specializes in sleep apnea, it is your responsibility to provide your patients with guidance and information that will guarantee accurate results. To ensure they feel confident and ready the day of their test, read on to learn what tips you can provide that will help them better prepare for the big day.
The Expectations of a Sleep Test
When a patient comes to you to find out if they are eligible to receive oral appliance therapy for their sleep apnea, the first step is to determine if they do, indeed, have a condition that warrants this type of treatment. If they have no formal diagnosis, a sleep test is needed to not only ensure a problem exists but also provide evidence for available coverage by medical insurance for appropriate treatment.
If they are like most people, this will be their first sleep test. They may be unaware of what to expect, so as their dentist, you can provide the information they need to feel confident, such as:
- They will be required to complete the sleep study either at home using a device provided by their physician or at a specialized center.
- If performed at a sleep center, the process takes, on average, 12 hours to complete.
- Before they fall asleep, lab technicians will perform a diagnostic medical test to look at their oxygen levels, heart rate, pulse, and other factors.
Ways to Prepare for a Sleep Test
In addition to learning what they can expect for their upcoming sleep test, it’s also important that you inform them of ways they can better prepare to ensure optimal and accurate results. The more comprehensive the data, the greater chances a physician will be able to determine if they have sleep apnea and require treatment.
Some helpful ways they can prepare for their sleep test include:
- Keeping a diary in the weeks before their test will provide greater insight into their habits and sleep practices.
- Sharing current medications with their physician to determine if any might hinder or affect the results of the test.
- Preparing an overnight bag that includes toiletries, extra clothes, pajamas, and additional amenities (i.e., pillow, blanket) that will make sleeping more comfortable.
- Avoiding caffeine the day of or at least after the early afternoon the day of the sleep test. Also, avoiding alcohol and napping throughout the day.
- Eating a normal meal before arriving for the test.
When patients are unsure if they have sleep apnea, it can be a worrisome and tiresome process. Making sure they know what to expect and are fully prepared will give them greater peace of mind knowing you are on their side and ready to help no matter the outcome.
About 21st Century Sleep Seminars
Dr. Kent Smith is a top professional in sleep medicine who has experience in treating, writing, and speaking about sleep disorders. His wealth of knowledge has helped other dentists integrate sleep apnea treatment into their own practices. At 21st Century Sleep Seminars, we can provide you with the information, tips, advice, and network of professionals you need to effectively treat these sleep disorders your patients are facing. To learn more, visit our website or call (972) 255-3712.